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02 Sep 2017 When Reality Hits

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen, heard, or even touched, they must be felt with the heart”-Helen Keller.

As I write this blog from the bus on the way to SFO, I await the moment where it hits me, the feeling that I am embarking on an incredible journey, and that all this preparation, has come to fruition. About two days prior to leaving for Stanford, my unpacked and disorganized self sat in my bedroom and spent a late night coming to terms and making a mental list of what important things I still needed to do. The list comprised of seeing a few more friends, snuggling with my dog, and kissing what I called home, rather the people I called home, goodbye. This was the first round; a recognition of leaving one life in pursuit of another journey. Round two, who knows what it holds in store for me and the rest of my cohort.

During the induction ceremony, a time for families to say goodbye, there were beautiful speakers and musicians who shared their voices.  This time was also used to say see you later to the family my fellow fellows and I had just made and reflect upon the week that had just commenced. NYT bestselling author, Julie Lythcott-Haims spoke eloquently on college and the process that high school students go through to get to the best of the best, all in a race to nowhere. She noted that throughout childhood we shouldn’t try and impress anyone but ourselves, yet many of us, willingly, try to do exactly the opposite and are supported in the pursuit. When that someone is a college or university, it suddenly becomes acceptable and encouraged, to go for the best of the best. Blindly. I, myself, fell victim to this thought process, that the end goal is where I would find my happiness, not in the small joys of the everyday.

I was then moved by Abby Falik, Founder & CEO of Global Citizen Year, as she came to provide her insights and the pride she has in all of this year’s fellows, for taking the path less taken. She promoted saying yes to new experiences and that “Breaking your heart and opening it is the same thing”. In order to know the joys of life, one must be able to recognize the pains of living too, which resonated with my outlook on this year; Life will certainly throw its curveballs my way, but by persevering and learning through the difficult times, even more happiness will grow.

During this year abroad, I aspire to find more of myself and what it means to live presently, as well as continuing to bring happiness to the lives of others. By capturing this, I hope to share my story with anyone with a story of their own, with a passion, and with hope. By contributing to the human experience, mine alone, and as a collective, these stories may provide a lesson, something to resonate with, or simply an adventure to carry forth into the world.

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